On Sunday 21st December, 2008 at about 7.15am Robert Deering was on a foot patrol in an area West of Lashkar Gah, Helmand Province, Afghanistan. A Viking armoured personnel carrier close by was hit by an explosion injuring three personnel and disabling the vehicle. Robert immediately went to their aid and to assess the damage when a second explosion occurred, killing him instantly.
Robert Deering was a Corporal serving with the Commando Logistics Regiment, Royal Marines.
Corporal Robert Christopher Deering, 33, was born on 16 October 1975 in Solihull and joined the Royal Marines in March 1998. Specialising as a Vehicle Mechanic, he spent the majority of his career at the Commando Logistic Regiment (CLR) Royal Marines, based in North Devon.
During his time at CLR he deployed on operations to Kosovo, Iraq and twice to Afghanistan. He has operated in Oman and Egypt, and completed Arctic and Assistant Cold Weather Warfare Instructor training in Norway. Latterly, he qualified as a Viking armoured personnel carrier operator and maintainer, and through demonstrating strong potential for command on operations in Afghanistan was promoted to Corporal in 2007.
Corporal Deering's home town was Sheldon, Birmingham. His great passions in life involved fast cars, maintaining the highest levels of fitness, and being with his fiancée Gemma. He was an immensely humble and cheerful man who impressed, and endeared himself to all who were lucky enough to have known him. He always had a friendly word for anyone he met, and his charismatic smile and infectious laugh filled any room he entered. An excellent listener and a friend to many, Corporal Deering will be remembered fondly by all who had the privilege of serving with him.
Corporal Deering leaves behind his fiancée Gemma, with whom he had recently moved into a new home, his parents, and sister. Corporal Deering's family said:
"We are missing Rob deeply."
His Commanding Officer, Colonel Andy T W Maynard said:
"Corporal Rob Deering had the heart of a lion and the courage to match. Having served on operations with the Royal Marines around the globe in Kosovo, Iraq and once before in Afghanistan, he was no stranger to risk, but faced up to it, displaying the finest qualities of the Commando Spirit: courage, determination, unselfishness and cheerfulness. The latter, in particular, was a trait that he is remembered for as a larger than life and popular man, who loved eating and drinking in good company. The mountain of Christmas parcels he received is testament to his popularity.
"At work in the Commando Logistic Regiment Royal Marines, where he had spent most of his career, he was well known and had recently qualified as a Vehicle Mechanic at the most senior level. His loss has been a tremendous shock to us all in this extended family, represented by our Regiment. Collectively, we reach out to support his parents, and his fiancée Gemma, and share their loss and their pain; our thoughts and prayers are with them at this time."
His Squadron Commander, Major Thornton Daryl Hirst Royal Electrical and Mechanical Engineers said:
"An experienced and hugely popular member of the Squadron, Corporal Deering was always at the forefront of activity. First to volunteer, no matter how difficult or dangerous the mission, he led his section with pride and had an innate temperament that had to be seen to be believed.
"A proud Royal Marine, impressive commander and exceptionally fit man, Corporal Deering will leave a void in many lives that will be impossible to fill. Cruelly and tragically taken from us, he will be missed greatly by all who had the privilege to know him. My deepest sympathy is extended to Gemma 'his best friend', his sister Elaine, his parents and all his family and friends."
Second in Command Armoured Support Group, Captain Scott Ashley Royal Marines said:
"Corporal Rob Deering was an outstanding vehicle mechanic and individual who thought nothing of going the extra mile in true Royal Marine fashion. He was never one to complain and always gave 100 per cent. He will be deeply missed by all those who worked with him in Armoured Support Group Royal Marines and the Viking fraternity. Our deepest condolences go out to his fiancée, family and friends."
His Troop Commander, Captain Nicholas Vobe Royal Electrical and Mechanical Engineers said:
"Corporal Rob Deering was an inspiration to the Troop. Joining straight from his Vehicle Mechanic Class One course, at the start of the pre-deployment training for Operation HERRICK 9, he made an impact instantly as a Section Corporal, leading by example.
"This example extended into his recreation, enjoying a quick session in the gym after work to prepare himself for a night on the town wearing his trademark spray on T-shirt.
"Corporal Deering spent the first two months of this deployment to Afghanistan in Kandahar, working as the Vehicle Mechanic Class One for the Queen's Royal Lancers 3rd Viking Troop. He subsequently deployed as an integral part of the Armoured Support Group Royal Marines, commanding the Viking Repair and Recovery Variant.
"My thoughts and that of the Troop's are with all of his family."
His Troop Colour Sergeant, Simon Nicholson Royal Marines said:
"The first time I ever saw Corporal Rob Deering was a number of years ago at a petrol station in Barnstaple. I knew that he was a young Vehicle Mechanic who worked in the Light Aid Detachment and thought 'how the hell can he afford that nice BMW?' As I got to know Rob better, I learnt that he guarded his money extremely tightly. A typical example of this was that during the full six months of his first deployment to Afghanistan he only spent $50!
"Rob was liked by all who met him, good looking, great "pecs" and a cheery smile; once you had met him you'd never forget him. He will be sorely missed, but never forgotten. My thoughts go out to his family, friends and most of all to his fiancée Gemma."
His Troop Sergeant, Peter Morley Royal Marines said:
"I first met Corporal Rob Deering in the Light Aid Detachment at Commando Logistic Regiment in late 2001. He was a Marine, Vehicle Mechanic Class Two and all I knew about him at that point was that I had to give him a pound a week, as far as I knew it was paying for his expensive car. As it turns out, he was actually in charge of the detachment tea-boat fund!
"I have worked alongside Rob throughout my career; on the Assistant Cold Weather Warfare Instructors' Course, on a scuba diving expedition in Egypt, and even shared a Viking with him on Operation HERRICK 5 in Afghanistan in 2006.
"Rob was one of the longest serving Vehicle Mechanics I have known and we shared many a good laugh together. I will never forget his smile and infectious giggle.
"He was a very professional Vehicle Mechanic and was one of the most experienced members of the Troop. He will be forever remembered. Our thoughts and prayers go out to his fiancée Gemma, his parents and his friends."
Members of Viking Support Troop said:
"The first thing that comes to mind when you think of Corporal Rob Deering is that he was 'tighter than a ducks a**e'. He would never fork out for anything unless it was to pay for the thing he was most passionate about, an expensive car. However, his latest acquisition, a canary yellow Vauxhall VX220 hairdresser's car, will probably be up for auction at his kit sale, and something tells me that we will probably get more money for his drill boots, which won't go down too well with Rob!"
"This was Rob's second deployment to Afghanistan. On the first tour Rob shared a tent with twenty eight others and as he slept near the controls for the heating and lights, the temperature was always perfect for Rob, which meant if he was 'icers', then everyone else was 'redders', and when he was awake the whole tent was awake."
"Rob was very fond of going to the gym. This was for two reasons, firstly, he proclaimed himself the best looking bloke in the Troop, and secondly, and more significantly, it was to counter his double, and sometimes triple, dessert eating habit."
"Rob loved working on the Viking armoured vehicles, in fact he loved it so much that on one occasion he tried becoming a part of the vehicle, by welding himself to the Viking's starter motor via his watch. Though he didn't succeed, it did leave a nasty scar on both his wrist and in his wallet when he had to buy a new watch, much to his disgust."